New Sheffield signing joins a prestige NHL group in Steeler history

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Aaron Johnson will join a very exclusive club when he arrives to take his place on Sheffield Steelers’ roster.

The Canadian will be in the top three Sheffield players when it comes to numbers of NHL appearances.

Johnson’s CV resembles a Who’s Who of some of the best clubs in the world, listing Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins.

Having a pedigree of that distinction - some 291 NHL appearances - doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a fabulous career at Steelers or any other Elite League club.

The most decorated Steeler was Paul Kruse, (451) who stayed a single year in 2001-02 before moving on to Belfast Giants.

A team-mate of Kruse’s at the House of Steel was Brad Lauer, who comes second with 357 NHL appearances.

He hung up the skates after a year at Sheffield which saw team mates Scott Allison, Rick Brebant, Chris Lipsett and Kevin Miehm outscore them in Mike Blaisdell’s outfit.

In fairness Blazer’s squad won the Playoff championships that year.

They overcame Manchester Storm 4-3, after overtime and penalties.

Johnson is ahead in the Steeler-NHL pecking order of another defensive legend, Dennis Vial who has 242 outings in the top league.

Johnson, who will study at the University of Sheffield during his two year stint at the club, started his career in the relatively humble surrounds of Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 1999.

His team won the championship in his debut season and the Memorial Cup, with a team including future NHL star Brad Richards.

It was a springboard to a rich and varied career at SIXTEEN different clubs, culminating in playing the last two seasons at Mannheim Eagles’ 13,600-seater SAP Arena, in the German top flight.

Johnson, wife Courtney and their 19-month old child are currently awaiting visa clearance ahead of his first season in UK hockey as Steelers target silverware.

*Watch out for more from John Armstrong soon.